This past week we have been learning about Native American culture in 1st grade. We have read several legends and done some fun art and writing activities to go along with them.
We read Arrow to the Sun which is a Pueblo tale about a Native American boy who is trying to find his father. He has to face his fears by going through four kivas (the kiva of lightning, snakes, bees and lions) before he and his father are reunited. After we finished reading the story we made a class book. Everyone wrote about something they are afraid of.
We read Knots on a Counting Rope which is about a blind Navajo Indian boy who likes to hear his grandfather retell the tale of his birth and how he was named. Then we made a class book about what our Indian name would be.
We read Whale In the Sky which is a tale from the Northwest American Indians about totem poles. Then we made our own totem poles by putting animals in ABC order and writing a tale of our own in our journal to go along with the totem pole we built.
We read The Legend of Bluebonnet which is about a Native American girl who sacrifices her most prized possession to end her tribe’s suffering. A few of us even shed a few tears while we were reading the story. Then we made a class book by writing about what our most prized possession is and why.
We read The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush which is about an Indian boy named Little Gopher who is smaller than all of the other children in his tribe and not able to ride horses, run and shoot bows and arrows with them. He finds out that he has a special talent when a Dream-Vision comes to him and we spends most of his life trying to paint a picture as pure as the night sky. After we read the story we decorated a bag to resemble Native American pottery and filled it with paintbrushes.
We also read two trickster tales by Gerald McDermott. The first one was called Raven. It is a tale from the Pacific Northwest. In the story Raven feels sorry for the people living in the gloomy cold, so he flies to the house of the Sky Chief in search of light and warmth. To get inside, Raven pulls a shape-shifting trick that allows him to be born to the god's daughter. We also read Zomo the Rabbit. In this story Zomo, who is very clever, beseeches the Sky God for wisdom. Zomo is sent out by Sky God to do three impossible tasks: he must bring back the scales of Big Fish in the sea, the milk of Wild Cow and the tooth of Leopard. Zomo manages to trick the three creatures into giving up these prizes, but returns to discover that the joke's on him.